Why take responsibility for failing another when you can just redirect the blame elsewhere? Why fall on your sword when someone else can for you? The idea of taking responsibility for negatively-perceived actions is absurd to me. It makes no logical sense? Why would someone willingly set themselves up for consequences when the action can either be denied or deflected to someone or something else? What possesses people to use such honesty when it is not, usually, to their benefit?
‘Failure to take responsibility for one’s own actions’ is a trait that registers on the PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist – Revised). It’s meaning is self-evident. I prefer to think of this trait as being a measure of my strategic cunning rather than a personal failing. The reasons to avoid taking responsibility are numerous if it is not beneficial to do so. Some people may feel remorse over an action and feel the need to ‘own up’. Some may feel that there is a moral conviction that must be satisfied by taking responsibility, regardless of consequences. I do not. Like most matters in my life, I am concerned with what benefits me before others. If I commit a wrong and you are trying to determine who did it, I’ll be the last to admit and the first to point fingers.
That said, there are times when it is necessary (or advantageous) to take responsibility. I believe that this is directly related to how I advise others with regard to lying. In order to successfully pull off deceit, one should try to gain the trust of the target. When failing in relationships (platonic or otherwise) or other endeavors, I try to take responsibility reliably for small, inconsequential things. As I do this, I sometimes feign the greatest of remorse of my ‘error’ in order to make the other believe that I am truly passionate about responsibility. It makes the denial of responsibility, when it matters, much more believable.
Also, if it cannot be proven otherwise, why not take ‘credit’ (a form of responsibility) for others actions? This is much more rare unless you are a master spinner of lies and cover-ups, but can be immeasurably useful. That project that someone else finished before they left? Scoop it up if it was successful. ‘Leak’ to an acquaintance or two that you were the anonymous donor that left that generous, but believable for your own worth, gift. Act modest, but go for the glory. The key with accepting responsibility for your own failings or another’s success is moderation. Don’t be stupid.
I like to think that psychopaths, especially the intelligent ones, are simply more logical than most. We know what is to our advantage and what is not. That may require some deceit and cunning at times, but so long as we are not the ones burned, does it matter? Whether it is successfully framing someone else for our own actions or taking credit for another’s, it’s simply a matter of self-preservation or gain. It’s not personal and it need not be with malice. A quote from a friend summarizes it well: ‘(psychopaths) have your back, especially when the gun is pointed at them’.